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Nonprofit Leadership Strategies For Attracting And Retaining Talent

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Thursday, May 4, 2017
Updated: Saturday, May 27, 2017

As nonprofit leaders know, investing in employees is crucial for attracting and retaining the best talent for complex nonprofit jobs. It’s also needed to maintain a culture of value, inclusion and engagement. Many employee investment strategies fall under the broader heading of leadership development. By offering a variety of leadership development opportunities, you can effectively meet the diverse needs of your employees. Here are some strategies to try at your organization.

Mentorship

Mentorship, often considered for individuals just starting out in their careers, can be a great tool for employees at any stage. Mentoring and coaching allow individuals to succeed by doing and emphasize active learning more than the typical on-the-job training. At Goodwill Industries International, we run a mentorship program that pairs employees based on their career development interests and experience. We also connect mentees and mentors across departments to expose individuals to new and different perspectives within the organization. An inclusive and effective mentoring program offers broad solutions to leadership development.

Lattices and Ladders

When considering growth opportunities for your employees, it’s important to include both lateral and upward growth opportunities. Lateral growth is in line with leadership development; it increases employees’ knowledge about the organization and allows them to grow their skill sets. Lateral growth also gives employees a chance to work with new people at the organization and learn new strategies for addressing challenges. If you overlook lateral growth, you risk having talented employees hit their vertical growth limit. Employers that invest in their employees’ professional development are also investing in the long-term sustainability and success of their organizations. Both types of growth are important to develop emerging leaders and foster a culture of learning.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is another opportunity to fulfill to your team members’ desire to learn and grow within your organization. Continuing education might include tuition reimbursement or in-house programs offered by your organization. Leadership development programs should consider adult learning styles in the education approach. We run a leadership development program that prepares existing Goodwill executives to become chief executives at local, independent Goodwill organizations. Executives in this program follow leadership tenants designed for the Goodwill social enterprise and learn through the 70-20-10 philosophy.

Market-Driven Compensation

Although a sensitive topic in the nonprofit arena, competitive compensation and benefits also play a key role in hiring and retaining valuable employees. As nonprofit organizations know, the challenge is aligning market value with expectations of your funders and communities. As you mentor and educate your employees to become the best leaders they can be, it is important to meet the value of their skills to manage retention rates. Lack of investment in leaders can lead to high turnover and hurt organizations’ sustainability and mission impact.

Investing in your employees is an important attraction and retention strategy to sustain high-functioning nonprofit organizations. By tailoring your leadership development practices to meet the unique needs of your organization, you can create value for your employees and promote a culture of continuous learning.

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